Rodney headed back to court on October 10, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals recently issued a ruling in the Rodney’s case – ordering new  a hearing in front of the Bastrop District Court.

The hearing is set to begin on October 10 and run for 3-4 days. The hearing was granted to examine a witness statement uncovered in a yet to be aired CNN interview that further cast doubt on the whereabouts of Jimmy Fennell, Jr., who was Stacey’s fiance at the time of her murder, and who many consider to be the real perpetrator of the crime.

From a recent KXAN story:

“Reed’s attorneys say Fennell gave conflicting accounts about his actions the night his fiancé was strangled with a belt. Fennell told police he was at home the night of April 22, 1996, and the following morning. Fennell said he had been at home and fell asleep before Stites left early in the morning to drive from Giddings to an H-E-B grocery store in Bastrop, according to court records. She never arrived for her morning shift.

Reed’s defense team says it has evidence that Fennell told a different story to Bastrop Sheriff’s Office Deputy Curtis Davis. In a recorded interview, Davis said he was with Fennell the morning Stites disappeared, after it was reported, and Fennell said he had been out the night before drinking and came home late. Fennell’s statement to Davis could cast doubt on his alibi.”

The Court of Criminal Appeals has reviewed Rodney’s case many times, and leading up to his execution date, they ordered hearings to review whether or not Rodney should receive DNA testing on key items from the crimes scene. The hearings were held by the Bastrop district court, which recommended against testing, following which, the CCA denied his appeal and he received the March 5, 2015 execution date. However, that was halted based on new evidentiary claims. An appeal to grant the DNA testing was subsequently denied in 2016.

The court has had Rodney’s recent appeal in front of them since 2015 – in which Rodney argues that he has proven his innocence through all the evidence put forward , including newly discovered forensic evidence casting doubt on the time of Stacey’s death, that was presented at trial. The court didn’t agree with Rodney’s claim that new evidence proved his innocence. But they agreed with his claim that the prosecution withheld newly discovered evidence that supports his innocence claim, saying the evidence “shows that the State presented false and misleading testimony, which violated his right to due process.”

The order states that, ”

“After reviewing the 2016 application, we find that applicant has failed to make a prima facie showing of actual innocence. However, we further find that his Brady and false testimony claims do satisfy the requirements of Article 11.071 § 5. Accordingly, we remand those claims to the trial court for resolution. Applicant has also filed in this Court and the trial court a “Motion for Deposition of Curtis Davis.” We leave it to the trial court to rule on this motion as it sees fit.”

This marks the first time since Rodney’s execution was halted in 2015 that there is a positive action from the courts regarding Rodney’s appeal. This latest piece of evidence is just one more link in the chain that binds Fennell to Stacey’s murder – and shows that Rodney is innocent! Rodney supporters will be working to build a presence at the hearings – as well as a series of activities to support Rodney over the next few months. Please check back at the upcoming events page here and on Facebook.com/texasinjustic for more information.

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Court Denies Rodney Reed’s Request for DNA Testing

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Austin American Statesman reports:

Texas’ highest criminal court Wednesday denied death row inmate Rodney Reed’s request for DNA testing on items related to the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites in Bastrop County.

The 8-0 decision by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said the possibility of cross-contamination limited the usefulness of many of the items Reed wanted tested, and results from other items would not have resulted in his acquittal.

The court also said that Rodney failed to prove that the request for testing “was not for the purpose of unreasonable delay”, a claim insulting on its face, but especially because this court waited more than two years to make this ruling.

This denial is disheartening, but it is separate from Rodney’s habeas petition also filed in February of 2015, based on new forensic evidence, that contests the timeline of the version of events claimed by the State.

Follow the We Demand Justice facebook page for calls to action and next steps.
https://www.facebook.com/texasinjustice/

The CCA’s full opinion can be read here.

 

TWO YEARS OF WAITING ON THE CCA: march and rally planned in Bastrop

There have been few updates on this site since Rodney Reed won a historic stay of execution in February of 2015. His lawyers have filed motions and his supporters have held rallies. Rodney’s father passed away, his mother’s house flooded, and children and grandchildren have been added to the Reed family. But in TWO YEARS, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) has done nothing to look into the DNA evidence that it begrudgingly considered strong enough to warrant delaying an unjust execution. And still Rodney Reed, and innocent man, sits in a tiny cell on Texas death row.

In October 2016, new voices were added to those calling for Reed’s release. Crime Watch Daily reported that one juror who voted to send Reed to death row now she says she has regrets. “I voted guilty,” she says. “I stand by the decision because I based it on the evidence presented and what I knew at the time. Since then there have been a lot of things that I’ve learned in that 20 years, heard about, that have made me wonder if Rodney was framed.”

Rodney’s family and supporters will call attention to these disgraceful two years by holding a march and rally in Bastrop, Texas. Join us for a community cookout on Saturday, March 11, 3:00PM-9:00PM at the Kerr Community Center, 1308 Walnut St, Bastrop. Bring a dish or a cash donation for the potluck.

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/185225585299528/?

Updates happen most frequently on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/texasinjustice/

 

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Updated: Thanks to everyone who came out in the rain to show their support. We had our cookout indoors and spirits were high!

rodney shirtsrodney group

One year later: Rodney Reed, still not freed

March and rally in Bastrop, TX, will demand the Texas courts move forward in the Rodney Reed case

18 years meme

It’s been one year since the Texas courts issued a stay of execution to Rodney Reed, an innocent man on death row. In that year, the courts have done nothing to correct their injustices while Rodney continues to live in a cage that measures only 60 sq ft, confined alone for 23 hours a day. On the anniversary of last year’s victory, we will remind the small town of Bastrop and the state of Texas that we have not forgotten. Justice for Rodney Reed and Justice for Stacey Stites!

Join Rodney’s family, friends, supporters, and a film crew from A&E for a short march through Rodney’s hometown of Bastrop and a community potluck. We’ll have music, Texas brisket, and a message for the Court of Criminal Appeals: We Demand Justice: Free Rodney Reed!

There will be a carpool for those traveling from Austin to Bastrop. Sign up at https://goo.gl/KN5s4A to become a driver or secure a seat.

Contact lily (at) nodeathpenalty.org for more information.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/948852951860115/ 

JUSTICE JAM: Community BBQ to Free Rodney Reed

Rodney Reed and his supporters are still waiting on a ruling from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA). It’s been five months since the CCA put the brakes on Rodney’s scheduled execution while it decides if it will hear the explosive new evidence brought forward by Rodney’s lawyers; it seems that the wheels of Texas justice turn very slowly.

But while the CCA stays silent, Rodney’s legal team and supporters continue our work to win his freedom. Join us in Rodney’s hometown of Bastrop for an afternoon of music and Texas BBQ in support of Rodney Reed. Featuring performances by: Kalu JamesLas Krudas Cubensi, an original song written for Rodney performed by Rodney’s cousins, and a DJ set by Rodney’s brother Richard Reed.

If you can’t make it to Bastrop but would like to support the event,  please make a donation online

justice jam flyer

Suggested donation $10 (or more!). Donations are on a sliding scale and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. To buy a ticket (or make a donation) online visit:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/justice-jam-a-community-bbq-for-rodney-reed-tickets-17502129340

Money raised will go to Rodney’s legal defense fund and support campaign materials. See you in the park!

JUSTICE JAM: COMMUNITY BBQ TO FREE RODNEY REED
Saturday, July 18, 2015 at 4:00PM. Bastrop, TX
Kerr Community Center, Bastrop, Texas
https://www.facebook.com/events/858037530956659/

Ball in the CCA’s Court: the struggle continues for Rodney Reed

A new piece from the Campaign to End the Death Penalty outlines the current status of the case of Rodney Reed and describes all the hard work by activists, lawyers, filmmakers, investigators and journalists that lead the recent stay of execution and the uncovering of new evidence.

Lily Hughes, national director of the CEDP, clarifies where Rodney’s case is in the Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA):

Although Rodney has been given a stay of execution, the fight is far from over. The Court has agreed to look at Rodney’s new appeal, but there are no guarantees of a favorable ruling. One possibility is that the court could look at the evidence and opt to deny relief, as they have done in the past.

Another possibility is that the CCA could order a new trial. This wouldn’t be unwelcome to Rodney and his supporters. However, if the evidence of innocence is strong enough to warrant a new trial, then it would make better sense for the court to reverse the conviction altogether.

The best possible outcome from the CCA would be a reversal of Rodney’s conviction and for Rodney to be released from prison. In this event, the Bastrop County district attorney could still opt to take Rodney to trial again, in which case activists should demand that the DA drop Rodney’s indictment completely.

The article is a great comprehensive of the history of the campaign to demand justice for Rodney, a campaign that continues!

The various options before the Court make the ongoing activist campaign for Rodney paramount. Rodney’s family and supporters are prepared to carry on the fight. As Rodney’s brother Rodrick Reed said at a rally in February, “If we don’t stand up today, we’re going to lay down tomorrow for anything they’re going to make us lay down for. And I ain’t a laying down kind of guy. I’m a fighter, I come from a family of fighters!”

This site will be updated as soon as the Court issues a ruling.

A rally for justice outside the Texas State Capitol in February 2015

A rally for justice outside the Texas State Capitol in February 2015

Sandra and Rodrick Reed address a crowd outside the Texas Governors Mansion in February, 2015. Photo by Jaynna Sims

Sandra and Rodrick Reed address a crowd outside the Texas Governors Mansion in February, 2015. Photo by Jaynna Sims

Texas votes to keep execution drug manufacturers a (dirty) secret

The Texas Tribune reports that the Texas Senate has approved a bill that would hide the names of execution drug providers from the public. Senate Bill 1697 passed 23-8.

State Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, told lawmakers her legislation was a “practical solution” to the harassment and threats faced by companies providing the state prison system with pentobarbital, the single drug used in Texas to execute inmates convicted of capital murder.

“Discussion in the public area has led to a chilling effect for companies who want to supply this compound to the state of Texas,” she said. “There are very few doses left of the drug that’s currently being administered.”

Hiding the names of unscrupulous pharmaceutical companies is a new development in Texas’ embarrassing history of capital punishment. Because these businesses have contracts with the state, their names were available to public until just two years ago. After European-based companies refused to sell their supplies of pentobarbital if its intended purpose was the murder of human beings, Texas turned to The Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy for its lethal drugs in 2013. The Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy claims that the public knowledge of their shady deal lead to “threats” against their business.

If companies can’t conduct their tax-funded business with the state in the public view, then they shouldn’t be in this shameful business at all. It’s telling that state lawmakers can band together to protect pharma manufacturers from the “chilling effect” of public outcry, but do nothing to secure justice for the wrongfully incarcerated. The Texas Legislature has again reaffirmed its commitment to executions, but abolitionists in Texas and across the world won’t stop until there’s justice for Rodney Reed and the other men and women on death row.